Motion pictures share a rich history with sound. Before audio could be recorded on location or even on a set, films relied heavily on the players’ actions in each short film or full-length feature. In fact, music would often permeate an otherwise silent film to fill the void that lacked ambient sound or dialogue. Tension, happiness and fear could easily be conveyed through music, like in classic Buster Keaton movies. Nevertheless, composers helped lay the groundwork for a powerful relationship between music and movies.
As audio became more and more prevalent in film, it was easier to obtain a tone as viewers could now hear the actors and actresses and the film’s score. But every so often, songs recorded by musicians could be heard that helped convey a deeper and more relatable tone and explore the personality of whomever the music focused on. For example, in The Crow, there was much emo and gothic rock music that surrounded the main character and helped inform the pain he consistently remained in. That said, with so many famous musicians out there, which one’s music has been heard in over 100 films?
Which Artist Has Had the Most Songs Used In Film?
It’s hard to dive into how many movies a musician has had their music played in individually. Thankfully, there’s an algorithm on the website Casumo that scours thousands of movies to see which artist has been heard the most in cinema. While many iconic singers and songwriters are out there, it’s surprisingly revealed that musician Bob Dylan took the cake with a total of 123 movie appearances through his music. His film appearances also add to his wider influences on popular culture.
Because of this, there have been exhaustive lists of movies and moments where Dylan’s work has shined, and it’s almost always in some culturally definitive films. For example, for fans of comic book movies, “The Times They Are A-Changin” echoed throughout the opening credits of Watchmen as the world’s history was shown. His song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” was also demonstrated in Easy Rider, a film showcasing a newly introduced side of Americana. However, one of the most clever uses of Dylan’s music was in the movie based on him, I’m Not There, where much of his works were heard.
Who Are Some Other Notable Mentions?
While Bob Dylan has taken the cake in terms of his music appearing the most in films, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t others catching up. Right behind him at number two is Elvis Presley, who had 119 appearances as well as his own film based on his life. That said, the top five carry their own significance, with sci-fi icon David Bowie at 113, The Rolling Stones at 96 and Bruce Springsteen at 90.
While this list could likely change over time, its significance could never change. Without music, movies could still exist, but it would be much harder to convey the necessary emotions to draw viewers into the moment. But between scores and the many artists that have lent their music to films, it’s changed the landscape of cinema and showed that while Bob Dylan is the most used now, that could change at any time and continue to enhance the medium.